Mental Health, Self Esteem, Therapy, Toolkit

Reboot Your Body Image

REBOOT YOUR BODY IMAGE

This blog is part of the Reboot Series from TalkTherapyChannel on YouTube. You can find this video at http://youtu.be/LdY3IdtZyck

Today we’re focusing on rebooting your body image.  I’m a psychotherapist, not a doctor or nutritionist, so the main focus of this video is on your body image. If you find yourself not feeling good about your body, stay tuned for some tips to love the skin you’re in.  There is beauty in everyone, and that includes you. You probably accept that in others. This video will help you get closer to accepting the beauty in you.

First, let’s take a look at your current body image. That can be boiled down to some simple, straightforward questions to ask yourself. Do you like the way you look? Do you compare yourself to others, whether in person or in the media? Do you feel comfortable or embarrassed when you are with your significant other?

Your answers to these questions are the beginning of learning what your body image is. If it is not positive, why is that? I want you to make a list of all the things you don’t like about your body. Seriously. Get a piece of paper, and write them all out. Maybe it’s your hips, your hair, your weight, or the presence of some wrinkles. Maybe you have some things that go deeper – on my list would be how much I wish my balance was better and my body doesn’t always work the way I want it to.  Okay. There’s your list. Take a long look at it. A long last look. Then take that piece of paper and rip it up. Rip it in half, tear it into shreds, set it on fire. Basically, say goodbye to your list of what you perceive as wrong with you physically.

Now let’s be real. Tearing up this list is not going to make what you feel are faults disappear. But it is the first step in creating a paradigm shift in how you perceive yourself. We all have a list. We can probably easily recite a dozen things we don’t like about how we look or our body functions. We’ve possibly spent way too much time thinking about it. And as I have discussed in other videos, our thoughts are powerful things. Negative perceptions start to become your self image, and what that’s going to do is minimize the wonderful things about you. Saying goodbye to the list of negative traits is going to make room for a new list of what you love about yourself.

As I have mentioned before, when I ask my clients what they love about their bodies, they often get stuck. They may say, “Umm, well. I like my eyes?” followed by five minutes of silence as they struggle to come up with more. The list of positives is nowhere near as lengthy or detailed as the list of perceived faults. So now, get a new piece of paper. I want you to begin to list the things that you love about your physical appearance and how your body works.  I don’t care what it is, just that you are willing to begin to embrace it. If you can’t come up with more than a couple of things, ask your loved ones or friends. “I’m doing this exercise as a part of my wellness plan – I’m stuck. Can you help me?” You may be amazed at what people will sincerely tell you about yourself. It may even be hard to believe. But even if you don’t believe it yet, here is how I want you to respond. I want you to say “Thank you.”  From this day on, when someone gives you a compliment about anything, I want you to say “Thank you” or some variation. No more trying to talk yourself or them out of it.

From today on, I also want you to make friends with the mirror.  At least once each day, spend a few moments looking directly into your own eyes and focusing on love and acceptance.  If it’s acceptable to criticize and judge yourself, then it’s even better to replace those negative thoughts with liking and appreciating yourself. Even if you don’t believe it yet.

Think of all the things about yourself that you like — are you honest? Creative? Intelligent? Compassionate? Loyal? Here is where a new written list comes in. Think of all the reason you deserve to love yourself and write them down. Hang the list up next to the mirror as a reminder that these things are what make you truly beautiful.

Next, take care of your body. Things like massage or reflexology, pedicures or manicures (even for men!). Buy lotions that feel and smell good. Take naps when you need to, eat nutritious food, and do what you need to do to maintain your health. Food can be especially important to feeling good in your body. Often people have complicated relationships with food. Generally, and you will want to check this with your medical practitioner to determine what is best for your body, moderation is key. When you eat something that makes you feel bad or bloated or nauseated after, your body is telling you that that particular food may not be what you need. Experiment with new foods, fresh and unprocessed ingredients, smaller portions, or whatever your body needs to feel good.

Looking healthy is something positive. It means that you are well rested, eating right and nurturing your soul. It means no more than that, and no less than that.

Another part of taking care of your body is using it in ways that are healthy and feel good. Adding movement, exercise, dance, yoga, stretching, or any activity that lifts your mood and your energy will also benefit your body image.

One of the wonderful things about the world is that we are all different. It’s a great experience to look around and realize that everyone is beautiful, no matter what size, color or gender they are.  I hope this article has given you some ideas to help bring you closer to finding and embracing your own beauty.

Thanks so much for reading! I welcome your comments, as well as suggestions for new blogs and videos.

Visit me on the web at http://www.fletchertherapy.com.

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